A funny thing happened on my way to pay a medical bill. I have paid the same medical bill twice and as such have decided to not pay any bill until I get the second notice. So a few day ago I decided to pay the latest bill in the hospital instead of mailing a check to the billing company out-of-state. After much effort I found the correct billing office and presented my bill. I them got what I thought at first was a pleasant surprise. The clerk told me that she did not see a balance owed in the system. She repeated “You do not owe anything on this account”. I was perplexed since the bill I had in hand clearly stated that I owed a significant outstanding balance. As I left the office I began to wonder how many times this situation occurs. What would have happened if I had mailed a check to the out-of-State billing company? How many bills have I paid that were in a similar situation?
This experience has allowed me to revisit an idea that I have expressed to others in the medical community before. I would like to see the morass of medical bills be corralled and only one bill be sent to the patient. Broadly this is how I see it working:
a. all bills are processed by each provider or facility within 20 days of discharge of services,
b. all bills are presented to central biller within 30 days of discharge of patient,
c. one bill presented to patient within 60 days of discharge,
d. all patients have 30 days from receipt of bill to arrange payment.
Our children are our most important investment and their well-being is our primary responsibility. How we get them from helpless to confident and self-sufficient is our primary task. I am currently on that journey with my two beautiful daughters and hope I am doing the correct things to create wonderful members of society. These are my guide posts:
1. Create confidence
Give them confidence by allowing them to succeed and fail early. There is nothing like accomplishing physical tasks to give confidence. My girls have never been restricted by age guides. We have allowed them to challenge and master anything they would like to attempt. Many times they fail but it is only in failure that we learn how to succeed.
2. Make learning fun
We strive to make every experience a learning opportunity. I hate structured learning, that is not where most of our learning occurs. Most importantly, answer all their questions (much easier said then done).
3. No baby talk please
When my girls speak others are often amazed at the depth of their vocabulary and general language skills. Those skills are not coincidental. We talk to them in adult language and provide definitions as needed so that they have early exposure and reinforcement of appropriate language.
4. Early introduction to technology and science
My girls are 3 and 4 and both know their way around a computer. They both have been introduced to programming. The 4-year-old gets it and is an intuitive problem solver. The 3-year-old is not there yet but she is learning about computers and always want to program. They love seeing the effects of their work. They remind me daily that they need to program. We are on code.org most days and I am the one limiting their time.
5. Respect others and the planet
Letting them see us showing respect to others and nature gives them a sense of their place in the universe. We are here to take care of the planet which is not limited to our fellow primates.
Our child are willing and able to learn and accomplish so much more that we give them credit for. We need to unleash them. In the rapidly changing world we live in, the only skill that will guarantee success is adaptability. Exposing our children to as many learning opportunities as we can will prepare them well for the challenges ahead.
I have been thinking lately and even better I have been doing. I have followed a friends foot steps and taken a leap. I finally signed up for a college savings plan for my 4-year-old daughter. I have been researching the options since her birth but never made a commitment. This week I finally did it. The Florida Prepaid plan is a great means to save for your child. The website is well laid out and even easier to use. It was a pleasure to use until I noticed the monthly cost for a the 5 year plan to purchase a 4 year university education. I finalized the plan and scolded myself for having not done it much earlier. The value afforded by paying now far outweighs the costs.
I would suggest that you not wait until you have the spare cash, because you will never have the spare cash. Just do it. Cut back on something now so you can have some peace of mind later. I will start the plan for my 3-year-old daughter a little later, but the goal is to complete payment before either of them turns 10 years old. It will be a challenge but one I take on gladly.
Have you made those college plans yet? The enrollment window is closed here in Florida, but I would suggest you plan and take the leap next time around.